A Case Study in Poor Surfing Etiquette

(Malpais, Costa Rica)

In an effort to “get out of the house” we went for a late afternoon surf yesterday with plans to enjoy a sunset cocktail or two at Banana Beach. A seemingly innocent enough romp, except it wasn’t.  After being in the water for no less than 15 minutes, disaster struck.

Disaster may be a slightly heavy word, but all the same. Max dropped into a wave only to be completely cut off by some kook who had next to no knowledge of surfing etiquette. To be honest, he had zero clue that there’s an entire list of unwritten surfing rules that one should abide by when sharing a break with others. Rules I’m slowly trying to pick up. During the interim though, I’m the stereotypical Canadian apologizing to anyone and everyone should I think I’ve come anywhere near breaking them. This offender was not so gracious.

After Max had pulled himself together from his unnecessary bail he gave his board a once over to find three deep fin gashes along the rail of his brand new board. He immediately approached the kid stating in a calm voice – I could hear the encounter from where I was floating – “Hey man you can’t do that, look what you did to my board.”

Now I’ve heard enough stories from Gregory and watched enough movies to know that surfers can be a pretty touchy peoples when it comes to their gear and their waves. Greg has a story from Panama where, in his beginner days, he accidentally cut the leash of another surfer’s board. Very few words were exchanged in result. Buddy with the broken leash simply came over, took Greg’s intact leash, and threw the broken one at him. Greg knew he was in the wrong, and knew enough to keep his mouth shut.

Max’s new friend wasn’t so well-informed. He immediately launched in to a weak, unfounded defence telling Max he was wrong all while wagging a finger in his face. Max, realizing that was going nowhere, took himself and his damaged board to the beach.

Meanwhile… I caught myself a nice wave before the incident, then dealt with growing anxiety as the waters became more and more packed.  Greg then took to waving me over to the rocks to avoid all the people. Neither an enjoyable alternative. Eventually we headed in too, where I certainly didn’t allow the mishap to stop me from enjoying 2 for 1 happy hour mojitos.

When the Cut Off King finally got out of the water Max approached him again. A simple acknowledgement of being in the wrong was the desired outcome, although a few bucks to get the damage repaired would be even better. The kid immediately fell back on his old finger waving self. A persona that wouldn’t last long. When he shut up long enough to hear Max out he finally got it through his head what he’d done wrong and agreed to give Max some money for the repair.

All in all, the boys took the board into Randy the Rasta Tico today who did a deadly job fixing it up. By afternoon shred time, Max had a repaired board in hand and was back on the waves to enjoy one last session at Malpais before we peeled out in the a.m.

* On a way sweeter note. After the money and board was finally sorted last night we were left to paddle out to the dinghy in the dark, and boy oh boy were the bioluminescence going off!!!! I felt like Avatar as the water beading off my arms glowed bright blue in perfect little orbs. Not to mention the wake of light I was leaving! Bioluminesence are sooooo rad. We tried to get photos of them back at the boat and evidently do not possess the photography skills. Here’s a link to a photo of someone who does have the appropriate skills.


Max’s ziploc wallet didn’t far too well during last nights activities.


Costa Rica’s money is super colourful and it’s got sweet animals on it!




  1. Evelyn mcgonigal · · Reply

    Hey kaycee foy….I have been following ur adventure..I am from moosomin too…evelyn mcgonigal….I know ur parents….hope u and the foy family enjoy xmas and all the best in the new year…when is ur adventure over??? Take care and be safe!!! Evelyn

    1. Hi Evelyn, thanks for leaving a comment. It’s nice to hear from followers. Christmas with all the Foy’s was awesome. So many good times and great memories. Everyone is gone now and it’s time to get this blog caught up!

  2. Judy and Ken Johnson · · Reply

    Merry Christmas to you both. Enjoy all those family moments in the sun.
    Judy and Ken

    1. Thanks Ken and Judy. We had a great time with all my family and now I MUST get this blog caught up!

  3. Merry Christmas to both.of you and all the best. Love your blog Kaycee keep up the good work From your old neighbour

  4. We saw the bioluminescence in Mansanillo MX. Really a sight to see. Really enjoy your writing. Don’t quit!
    Glenn Wilton

    1. Thanks again Mr Wilton. And I promise I won’t quit, just hella behind. Christmas with the Foys really took up all my time. That and the cervezas had something to do with the delays.

  5. Happy new year to great young couple enjoying a fabulous experience . Kaycee thanks for your blog I really enjoy it all the best to both of you in the new year. Your old neighbour

    1. Great to hear from you Real. A belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you as well. Hope all is well in Grande Prairie. All our best to Mika too!

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